Most of us are content with the knowledge that Ugadi simply means the Telugu New Year, which falls generally in March-April of the Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated like any other Hindu festival, except that a new almanac (Panchagam) is written, read and declared open for all the Hindus to refer to in times of need. Very few even think of it as a real New Year since all are tuned to the January 1.
If we just care to delve a little deep into the onset of the New Year according to the Indian Hindu calendar or almanac, it is mind-boggling as to how meticulous is the mathematics behind it. Let’s go back to the erudite Kandadai Ramanujacharya, a scholar in Sanskrit: “The span of creation from day one to the present day is exactly 195,58,83,114 years. Of these, the present era (Kali Yuga) has completed 5,113 years. We are in the 5,114th year. The duration of Kali Yuga is actually established as 40,32,000 years. Of this again, Adi Sankaracharya’s origin was 2,085 years ago; the Shalivahana shaka stands at 1,935; Vikram Samvat at 2,069 and Christ year (CE) 2013-2014. This Telugu year of our Indian Independence is 66-67 years old. As per calculations with the creator (Brahma) as the ancient Hindu origin of time, which involves a very complex but exact math, it is suffice to say that as of now, 27 Mahayugas are over and this Kali Yuga is the 28th Mahayuga . It takes another 40,26,887 years for Kali Yuga to end, which is often misinterpreted as the onset of ‘pralaya’ (great storm) or total annihilation of life. It is not so. Only when creator Brahma completes 100 years will pralaya take place and Brahma’s lifespan is 3,11,04,000 years. Our calculation of 100 years is not applicable to this creator. Our almanac was founded on this scientific calculation and hence, nothing can really go wrong, except for the fact that few can comprehend the complicated mathematics which are not even brain-teasers, just perfect arithmetics,” he explains.
The knowledge of time is called Kaala Gnyanam and there are seven sections related to time. The knowledge of the result of one’s actions at a particular time is expressed in muhuratha and phalitha sections, which in turn is recorded through ganitha (math/calculation) in what we term as our almanac or Panchangam. Persons, time and place are linked by planets, stars and zodiac (graha, nakshatra, raasi) and the calculations are worked out in absolute perfection. There is no scope for miscalculation or imagination.
There are 27stars in our constellation, 12 zodiac and nine planets; now these 27 stars are divided by the 12 zodiac wherein one star comprises four sections/charana or paada; therefore, we multiply 27x4=108. This figure (108) is divided by 12 and the dividend is 9. It means that one zodiac has 9 sections which comprises two stars and one part of the third star. For example, Aries (Mesha rasi) contains four sections of Ashwini, four of Bharani and one of Krittika stars. In each zodiac (rasi) the sun (surya) stays put for one month of our calendar year. This scale of time measurement is called Soura maanam (Solar). The same way, the moon journeys (for a day only in each star) is called ‘Chandra manam’(lunar).
There are five scales of measurement of time in our Indian almanac in accordance to the place of stay. While Andhra Pradesh follows the lunar scale of time, Tamil Nadu follows the solar, Gujarat follows Jupiter (Brihaspati) and hence their New Year begins with Deepavali; Himachal area follows Nakshatra (star) and their new year begins with Sri Panchami (Feb.) while Savana scale is adhered to in regions of Nepal. For us, every five years (not calendar years) is one Yuga (era); 60 years are 12 Yugas. The five years that make one Yuga are Samvatsara (begins with Prabhava nama), Parivatsara (Vibhava nama), Ida vatsara (Shukla nama), Idu vatsara (Pramoda nama), Id vatsara (Prajapathi nama) and all other names of years gets repeated in this cycle. So the present Vijaya nama (meaning Vishnu) comes under Parivatsara. And Surya (sun) is the ruler (presiding deity) reigning over this Parivatsara. It augurs well in terms of plenty in grain and cattle which is the core of Indian agricultural economy.
Let’s usher in ‘vijaya’ with joy and hope.